In order to obtain a general perception of today’s pickup trucks, I decided to consult multiple almighty internet search engines to see how they’d auto-fill the statement, “Pickup trucks are…” Google gave the following three diversified answers: pickup trucks are stupid, pickup trucks are for rednecks, and pickup trucks are expensive. Yahoo added another piece to the puzzle: pickup trucks are better than girlfriends. I’m not kidding. While many conclusions could be drawn from this information, we’ll focus on the potentially expensive price tag attached to today’s fullsize heavy duty pickup trucks, and how this price tag puts pickup trucks into categories normally reserved for luxury cars. But what exactly is this “expensive” price tag assumed by the internet? We decided to find out by building our own heavy duty pickups on the manufacturers’ websites.

Our 2014 GMC Sierra 3500HD Denali ($49,145) Crew Cab, Long Box Dual Rear Wheel truck started at $50,435. Adding 4 wheel drive brought it to $59,585. A decent start to building an expensive truck, indeed! Because the diesel option is more expensive than the Vortec 6.0L gasoline V8, we chose the Duramax 6.6L Turbo Diesel V8 engine for a $7,195 premium. The necessary Allison 1000 6-speed transmission added $1,200. Big-ticket interior and exterior accessories and upgrades, including navigation, rear-seat entertainment package, rear vision camera, tool box, bed liner, power sliding rear window, tubular assist steps, dual alternators, power sunroof, roof rack, underseat storage box, overhead utility racks, rear view mirrors, hitch trailering package, and more, brought our quick-build estimate to a grand total of $73,029. Maybe that girlfriend’s not so bad after all.

Our 2014 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty started at $30,540, but we instantly brought that number to $57,270 by selecting the highest model, Laramie Limited, in a 4x4 Mega Cab 6’4” box configuration. While we paid dearly for the 6.7L Cummins Turbo Diesel with an exhaust brake ($7,995) and the AISIN 6-speed transmission ($2,795), we definitely considered this combination as an essential part of our luxury pickup build. The dual rear wheels ($1,200) were added as a separate line item. The power sunroof, tri-fold tonneau cover, 5th wheel/gooseneck towing prep group, chrome body side molding, rear window defroster, and some other additions brought our ramtrucks.com internet build to a healthy $71,605.

Our quest to build high-end, option-packed pickup trucks was not complete without building our own Ford Super Duty. For the sake of comparison with the others, we started with a Ford F-350 with a MSRP of $30,930. We scratched that figure out quickly, as our Platinum model started at $52,510. To get the 6.7L 4 Valve Power Stroke V8 diesel engine and the TorqShift 6-speed transmission, we mustered up an additional $8,315, plus another $1,550 for the dual rear wheels and $3,190 for the 4x4. After excitedly opting-in for things like the 5th wheel hitch kit, power moonroof, white platinum tri-coat, spray-in bedliner, dual alternators, and so on, we had somehow easily managed to put together a $72,120 truck.

Taking these build price estimates into account, it could be said that fully-loaded GM, Ram, and Ford heavy duty trucks are $70,000-$75,000 status symbols of their own, wrapped in comfortable plush leather interiors, filled with high-end technology, and complete with phenomenal towing capacity. These are hardly the pickup trucks of twenty years ago. If you were to jump into the car-world with that kind of money, what would you find for 70k? Consider the MSRPs of these “redneck” options: BMW 550i xDrive Gran Turismo ($70,400), BMW 740i Sedan ($74,000), BMW X6 xDrive50i ($71,400), BMW M3 Convertible ($69,050), Mercedes-Benz CLS 550 ($72,100), Mercedes Benz SLK55 AMG ($68,925), Lexus LS 460 ($72,140), Lexus IS F ($63,350), and Range Rover Sport HSE ($68,495). Undoubtedly eyebrow-raising options! The bottom line: your Laramie Limited is indeed a status symbol.